Revs Notebook: Nicol's bunch overwhelmed in USOC flop
A rough start led to New England's quick demise in a 5-0 defeat in a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night.
Sporting — playing their first home game of the season in all competitions — jumped out to a three-goal lead as Chance Myers (twice) and C.J. Sapong scored inside the first 24 minutes to build a formidable advantage.
Aurélien Collin and Sapong added further tallies shortly before the final whistle, but Revolution coach Steve Nicol said his inexperienced side faced a daunting task after conceding those three early goals.
“You basically lose a game in the space of 10 minutes giving the ball away and not defending properly,” Nicol told reporters at the Blue Valley District Activities Complex in Overland Park, Kan., after the match. “And when you’re going three-nil down, it’s a long way back.”
Nicol left all but a few of his familiar faces back in Massachusetts to prepare for Saturday's home date against the LA Galaxy (9 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live). Didier Domi, Sainey Nyassi, Pat Phelan and Zack Schilawski all started, while Zak Boggs came off the bench in the second half and Darrius Barnes watched from the sidelines as an unused substitute.
The wholesale changes saw the Revs completely change their starting XI from Saturday's 2-1 defeat at San Jose, but Nicol said the placement of the game precluded him from fielding a stronger lineup.
“We want to do well, but to have everyone here in these conditions, travel back and then have to play again Saturday is too much so we had to make changes [to the lineup],” Nicol said.
Learning experience for Revs' youngsters
All of those changes gave some little-used Revolution squad players a chance to play in a competitive match against an MLS side that fielded six of its regular starters.
The outcome — and, in particular, the response after the early deficit — will serve as a teaching tool, according to Phelan.
“A lot of the younger players don’t know that when stuff like [going 3-0 down early] happens, you have to get on yourself, and not get on each other,” Phelan told reporters after the match. “You can’t wait for someone to tell you to pick it up. But that’s a learning experience for a lot of these guys. You’ve got to put it behind you and you have to start from scratch for every play. You can’t dwell on mistakes. It’s a tough situation to be in, but for everyone on the field, we all want to play well.”
Weather creates travel havoc on return trip
Inclement weather hindered the Revolution's trip to the Midwest from the outset as severe storms and tornadoes swept through the greater Kansas City area on Tuesday night and Wednesday.
The nasty conditions impacted the field for the defeat on Wednesday night and caused havoc as the Revs attempted to leave the area on Thursday.
With the club's flight back to Boston canceled due to weather issues in Dallas, the Revs' travel party — with the exception of soccer operations coordinator Nick Kropelin — dispersed onto eight separate flights to Boston and Providence in order to return to New England in time for Friday's training session.
Kropelin told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday night that he worked with the Revs' travel company to cobble together alternative arrangements once he learned that the original flight would be canceled on Wednesday.
“The benefit of this — as opposed to a situation like Vancouver — is that we found out 24 hours in advance,” Kropelin said. “I had some time to work on this. If we had gotten to the airport this morning and found out that our flight had been canceled, we would have been in big trouble.”